Written by Kevin Hower Tuesday, 22 July 2008 14:12Author Philip K. Dick once said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
The best tool human minds have devised for understanding that reality is the scientific method. The greatest obstacle to increasing public understanding of that tool—especially in America—is that many people view the method itself as hostile to their way of thinking.
More often than not, it seems, people want to believe what they believe in spite of conflicting evidence or with no evidence at all. In those receptive to it, science works to pull back the reins on uncritical thinking.
Regardless of what kind of world we would like to live in, we actually do live in one in which not everything is possible.
Written by Kevin Hower Wednesday, 02 July 2008 11:08The Fourth of July is almost upon us again. Patriotism and what this country means to me have been on my mind, particularly in this chaotic election year.
I found this quote the other day by the late Rabbi Sherwin Wine, who I think did a wonderful job of summarizing many of my opinions on this subject:
“There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our Puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of...
Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 18 June 2008 07:12If you ask Europeans visiting the United States what they see as the No. 1 environmental problem here, it is interesting to hear the vast majority come up with the same opinion.
No, it’s not air pollution or water pollution.
I have talked to persons from Scotland, England, Denmark, Norway, France and Germany, and I can’t remember even one of them who didn’t come up with a different priority concern.
It’s land use. They can’t believe the ease with which our local, state and federal governments allow the leap frogging of malls, other commercial developments and residential areas into the countryside on the basis of profit to developers.
They can’t believe we assign such a low value to the lands that produce food that any...
Written by Kevin Hower Thursday, 27 December 2007 06:24Another year has flown by and it’s the holiday season again. I considermyself very fortunate to have many reasons to be happy, and I wish thesame for you in the coming year.
Maybe it’s just my warped sense of humor, but I find it kind of funny that we count mistletoe—which is both a toxic and parasitic plant—among the many symbols of love. This is merely one of the many details about Christmas that fascinate me.
For those eager to absorb more holiday trivia, I suggest the History Channel Web site as well as a wonderful, yet hard to locate, book called “The Book of Christmas.” One of an excellent but out-of-print series called “The Enchanted World,” it covers much of the ancient customs and mythology that have...
Written by Kevin Hower Wednesday, 14 November 2007 08:26I hate spam. Fortunately I don’t get very much of it at home. I have a Mac and my e-mail program is set up to be pretty strict about what it lets through. And that’s after my e-mail provider gets through filtering it as well.
However, at the Free Press, as with other many other businesses in the world, we are hit some days with a tsunami of spam—junk e-mail, for those not aware of computer jargon.
Other days it’s just a flood.
I came up with a completely unrealistic and infeasible punishment for spammers. I’ll concede that point upfront to try to defuse any critics who might make just those observations.
And I’ll admit, perhaps it’s also unnecessarily cruel and unusual. But hey, the thought police haven’t taken...
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